and Imelda says to herself
“this will do” and she straightens her shoulders and turns to the skinny girl holding Marcus and Imelda sees the half step forward, the blush, the flush of desire.
Imelda sees it all and tucks this knowledge away. She will examine it later, see what use it can be to her, what benefits it may bring to her and her children.
There are people who think that she’s stupid because she smiles a lot and she looks happy and they just see the clothes and the kids and the nails and the hair. They see what they expect to see and that suits her just fine.
It worked at school, she smiled, the teachers smiled back, no-one really saw her, their eyes floated over the girls in the back row, the ones with complicated hair and the uncomplicated attitude to english literature.
She sat there and watched them, those busy, busy women with their tired sensible clothes and their bags of marking and their healthy packed lunches. she saw when their marriages faltered, when their children kept them awake all night, when the weight of teaching the dis-interested began to show in their faces.
She watched and she hugged their secrets to her chest, knowing them made her feel powerful, gave her a sense of self. Sometimes what she knew could be used, could be useful to her, a get out of free jail card.
No detentions for her, by the time she was 13 she was floating through school, teflon coated, punishment free and universally liked, even loved.
And so it continued, Imelda went on smiling, noticing everything and becoming more and more skilled at collecting the information needed to make her life easier.
Being beautiful helped, she knew before she left school that her beauty was something else she could use, another tool to make her life easier.
People. men and women liked to look at her, they wanted to help her, meals in nice cafes new outfits, club nights. Imelda just smiled and smiled.
And now she is here, Cloverhill, things haven’t gone to plan recently, but she is resilient, she needs to get a grip, needs to get her game back on.
The last 2 years have been tough, she made a bad mistake, let someone into her life, let her defenses down and look where its got her, Cloverhill.
But that girl, the skinny one, the one who looked at her,she looks useful, looks like she could make Imelda’s life far more comfortable again.